West Indies v Australia, 3rd Test, Roseau, 5th day April 27, 2012

Clarke reckons Wade's a Test batsman


Australia's captain Michael Clarke has signed off from the West Indies by opening up the possibility of Matthew Wade retaining his Test place as a batsman should Brad Haddin return as the Test gloveman next summer.

Wade's pitch-defying century in Dominica earned him man-of-the-match honours in the final Test of a 2-0 series win over West Indies, and also demonstrated his skills as a batsman. It is an exceedingly rare thing in Australian cricket for a wicketkeeper to make the national side on his batting alone, though Adam Gilchrist and Haddin both played as batsmen in the ODI team while waiting for their predecessors to step aside.

"I think if he plays the way he's been playing there's no doubt about it [he could play as a batsman]," Clarke said. "And his numbers say that for Victoria. He's a wonderful wicketkeeper but I think that his batting's got a lot of potential too. He plays spin as good as anyone.

"Like I said, I think he has learned a hell of a lot throughout the one-day series about different conditions and playing spin in Australia compared to playing spin in the Caribbean, which will help him going into the subcontinent. And we've got a Test tour coming up over in India.

"There's a lot of cricket to be played before any of the selectors have to worry about the next XI or the next squad of 15 for our next Test series, but Wadey, hopefully, will continue to perform in the shorter form until the next Test match comes around."

Clarke, an avowed friend and supporter of Haddin, declined to repeat his pre-Test assertion that his New South Wales team-mate would automatically return to the keeping spot for Australia's next Test, against South Africa in November, should he make himself available. However he remained staunch in his support for Haddin, who withdrew from this tour due to a serious family matter.

"I've made it very clear that think Wadey's done everything in his power to put as much pressure on the selectors as possible," Clarke said. "What I also said was that if Brad was available for this tour he would have played the first Test match. I think it's great there's competition as a batter, as a bowler, as a wicketkeeper. It's fantastic for the game. How lucky are we in an Australian cricket team to have either Brad Haddin or Matthew Wade available for selection in the Test team?

"I think, Wadey, if he plays like that, certainly will continue to put pressure on not only the wicketkeeper's spot but a batsman's position too. That's something the selectors will have to worry about in time.

"I will still continue to support anybody that plays for this Australian team. Even though Brad's not here on this tour. My friendship, yes … but also [because of] his experience, his knowledge, his success as a Test player, I'll continue to support him, as I will always support Wadey. I think he's done fantastically in the shorter form of the game. He got his first opportunity here in Test cricket and he's grabbed it with both hands so there's nothing more he can do and now it's up to the selectors, when the time comes, to make a decision."

For his part, Wade said he had derived great satisfaction from developing as a wicketkeeper and a batsman in conditions as foreign as any he has experienced. He also felt the tour would work in his favour ahead of the 2013 tour of India, which serves as the prelude to that year's dual Ashes series.

"Probably the all-round experience of coming over here in the one-day series without knowing too much about these conditions," Wade said, when asked what he had found most rewarding. "Learning a lot in the first three one-dayers, as I've spoken about, in St Vincent and then continuing to develop my game in the nets with Justin Langer and Mickey Arthur, and trying to find my way in difficult conditions against spin bowling. So, probably that's most pleasing thing, going home knowing that I've learned a hell of a lot and I'm improving.

"I've been to the subcontinent a couple of times but only to play the short formats of the game. These conditions are very similar, I've been told. So, fingers crossed, if I get an opportunity to play, hopefully I can bring what I've learned here to the subcontinent and do my stuff."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roo on May 1, 2012, 15:27 GMT

    @Meety... Gilly toured England aged 19 with the Oz Young team scoring a century & fifty in 3 Tests... At 24 managed an average of @50.5 & also toured Eng again with the Young team with an average of 70... At 26 he had the highest dismissals in SS for the 4th year in a row & he still had a fabulous SS record @47.6 - blowing away anything that Healy had even done & anyone with cricket knowledge new that he was being deprived of a Test berth by Healy - the media were all him... BTW, what has Healy & NSW got to do with anything?... The only person who mentioned Healy was you... Misquoting me again, lol...

  • Andrew on May 1, 2012, 3:38 GMT

    @zenboomerang - apart from the fact that this was a discussion about the Test team, the fact is, regularly Gilchrest scoresheets in Nsw 2nd XIs read like binary code, I repeat there is "no way did Healy keep Gilly out of the team for 3yrs too long" Since when did Healy play for NSW, since when did Healy have anything for that matter to do with selecting NSW sides. Anybody can look good as a 15yo, he himself (Gilly) didn't think he was that good but backed himself to get there. People can be quite all-knowing after the event. Nice try, quite flawed though! I saw him play cricket in the under 3s - he was brilliant - LOL! You talk about being misquoted - LOL!!!!!!! Btw - nice analysis on Andy Flower, despite being out by 44 (26 v 70) on his average v the Saffas - doh!!!!!

  • Dummy4 on May 1, 2012, 0:18 GMT

    David hussey needs to be in the test team. For a few years now Australia have tinkered with their line up and have tried a number of players but no ones first class record outside oz who has not played a test is the best around. What does David hussey have to do to be given a chance at test cricket.

    The team should be


  • Roo on April 30, 2012, 10:43 GMT

    @Meety :- "no way did Healy keep Gilly out of the team for 3yrs too long" -... Having watched Gilly as a 15 y.o. (&younger) playing for Southern Districts at 1st grade, then being held back by NSW & playing occassionally as a batsman only, then forced to move to WA to get a gig as a keeper, Gilly was always a superior keeper/batsman to anyone around him - even in his early 20's... You obviously never saw him or his raw talent at a young age, which never diminished until towards the end of his career... I compare it to keeping Ponting in SS until his late 20's...

  • Roo on April 30, 2012, 10:42 GMT

    @hyclass :- "Nothing has changed at CA since the Argus Review. The deck chairs have been shuffled" -... Looking at what has actually changed in leadership & accountability, I find your comment flawed... There has been no shuffling of chairs - who's been moved around?... The Argus Review is not a 'majic bullet' but rather a plan that will require 2-4 years to evolve - your supposition that it can occur in only a few months or 1 season lacks the perception that Test cricket & programs require time to evolve... "Arthur,who was average at WA"... lol... He was only there for a very short period of time yet dragged up WA to nearly a SS final while missing major players - they've look at their best for a number of years... Which makes NSW's coach & selectors look like the most underperforming management group by a long way in Oz - especially considering the finalists Tas v Qld...

  • Randolph on April 29, 2012, 11:44 GMT

    @hyclass I agree with what you are saying about batting - focus on different areas for different players, but what I will say is I don't believe Langer has the credentials to be there. I believe he is there because of his status and friendship with older players/coaching staff. Absolutely no coaching record or achievements to hang his hat on before he came into the side.

  • Andrew on April 29, 2012, 6:36 GMT

    @ hyclass - mate that's the thing, whilst I know if you got a stat wrong, you'll accept it, I know that your analysis are NOT whims, however, where I disagree with you is some of your conclusions & the backstory to justify what you are talking about. If it had been the 1st test (re: Saffas) - I'd agree with you, bearing in mind that Oz had just been playing on alien pitches in SL, & their tour match was played on a dog of a wicket, I'd say Oz's preparation was not too flash either. Regarding Warner, he was depositing balls into the stand - no field placings were going to help. Warner delivered on a talent he has possessed - the trick will be to see if he maintains it. The only blemish on his records IMO is that his Test tons have been scored against attacks MINUS a specialist spinner. BTW - I agree with you that Rogers & D Hussey need to be looked at more seriously than they have been, I agreed re: S Marsh, I've agreed re: Hughes (although not that it was some sinister ploy by Hilditch

  • Nick on April 29, 2012, 5:07 GMT

    Agree with comments regarding Rogers and D.Hussey - perhaps they haven't played the politics as much as they need to. It's a really bizarre situation because the batting side is really weak and these guys have been ignored. As far as Wade v Haddin is concerned, Haddin has been solid but is far from a superstar in international cricket. There is no need for him to stand in Wade's way. Wade is a good prospect with some good early signs. He still needs to prove himself, but he's done ok. He is a better batsman than Paine. If a second keeper is necessary, Neville is the guy for me and Haddin is done and dusted. Judging by Clarke's comments, it looks like Cowan will be dropped (as I predicted). M. Hussey should open.

  • Tim on April 29, 2012, 3:57 GMT

    Why would Wade play as a specialist batsman? Is Haddin really a better keeper than him? The answer is surely no.

  • David on April 29, 2012, 3:54 GMT

    @ RandyOZ You're right about the ongoing presence of that batting coach/cheerleader, as well as those average top-order batsman who are far inferior to others who you incessantly criticise (like Bell and Pietersen). If I were you I'd worry more about Arthur and Clarke's misguided attachment to inferior Australian players than the form of a far-more settled English side.

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